Making our adrenalin-filled entrance flying over this magical 865 acres of the private wildlife corridor connecting the three national parks together (Bokor, Kirirom, and Cardamom) via a 380-meter long zip-line. Soaring through the exquisite Cambodian Jungle over countless canopy of trees and the majestic waterfall. Suddenly, we could hear people singing “Happy Birthday” in the distance during the zip-line, as we approached the landing zone I could now clearly see our Bensley Butler with a beautiful wild flower bouquet and an all lit up big birthday chocolate cake with my name on. The general manager (with a custom-hand-made birthday card signed by all the staff) and the team were also there to warmly greet us, we also noticed the beautiful welcome drinks (which later became our regular go-to everyday drink throughout our stay, it’s fabulous and so refreshing!) made of a shot of tequila in the infused ice pineapple cordial with a beautiful twist of the perfectly blended anise and clove. Everyone and everything was ready and set up even before we even removed our harness. What a truly 5-star loyalty kind of welcome this is. We were then swiftly escorted to our jaw dropping fashionably gorgeous and luxurious #1 The Cambodian Royalty Waterfall Tent, perching over rolling rapids offering an undisturbed 360-degree view of the raw nature. Our waterfall tent is the furthest from camp (and the absolute best) making it the most private and scenic. It has become one of our all-time favorite villas in the world. We seriously cannot imagine a better plan to celebrate my birthday week than at our beloved Shinta Mani Wild. Are you ready? Come with us this way!
This ultra-luxurious yet eco-friendly Cambodian Safari Kingdom is owned and designed by our longtime idol, the amazing Bill Bensley. He first bought this magical piece of land with his friend and business partner, Sokoun Chandpreda, to save it from the illegal poaching and logging. Which then became the heart and soul of this project. Something that we both absolutely appreciate and adore. The daily patrol by the Wildlife Alliance is funded by guest stays, a crucial part of the protection of the forest and its inhabitants. Shinta Mani Wild also does not have any single use of plastics! It takes over 50 years for plastic to decompose yet Cambodia uses 70 million plastic bags a year while the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia alone uses 10 million plastic a year. We truly respect and sincerely appreciate those combatting the ever-growing plastic pollution problem.
Shinta Mani Wild is inspired by the famous 1967 Cambodia visit of the former First Lady and the iconic Jackie Kennedy Onassis to King Sihanouk. A truly exclusive Cambodian Safari Holiday Home for the royalty back in the days. We can absolutely see Jackie O and King Sihanouk staying here. Each of the only 15 luxurious tents are uniquely and flamboyantly designed with a marvellous vintage touch. For example, our Waterfall tent number 1 pays respect to the royal heritage of the Kingdom of Cambodia (and perhaps to that of King Sihanouk?), baring the name of Tent No. 1 The Cambodia Royalty Waterfall Tent while tent 2 number 2 pays homage to Jackie as the name reads “Tent No.2 First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s Waterfall Tent”.
During our stay, we also had the pleasure of staying at Tent No.14 The National Geographic Waterfall Tent. This tent is also very special and beautifully designed. The bedroom is decorated with endless copies of the iconic National Geographic magazine; some issues were dated back to the 1960s! More than a century before we were born! It is 1 of the only 4 Waterfall Tents but it is the only that is nestled in a rocky gorge at the base of the Raging Middle Sister Falls where you can actually see the waterfall. Every single of these luxurious appointed tents opens up to the beautiful outdoor-decked living areas with its masterpiece of the enormous hand-made bathtub with an unparalleled view of the waterfall flowing beneath and the stunning surrounding nature. And who would not fall in love with the flamboyant animal-print sofa as well as those crystal wine glasses and crystal bottles filled with whiskey, tequila, and gin.
Another thing that we absolutely love about this place is at WILD literally everything is all inclusive indulgences (except your helicopter ride of course); all 3 meals (Yet never repeating gourmet ranging from Chef’s tasting menu to Khmer signature dishes to locally sourced hyper seasonal menus) with all kinds of beverages (unlimited booze, yes you read that right!), destination dining and in-tent dining are also included (I know right? We love our private birthday picnic breakfast and romantic all candle lit dinner on top of the waterfall), your free-refill generously stocked mini bar (That is definitely not mini nor limited!), all private guided adventures and activities (Don’t miss the expedition boat; board a pontoon boat for a river safari where breakfast on board or alfresco picnic lunch can be requested, and hopping on a motorbike behind AK-47 armed Wildlife Alliance rangers as they patrol the forest for poacher and protect wild lives), and your (daily, yes it’s free every day for all guests) 60-90 minutes spa treatment of your choice in your very own tent or at the spa (Don’t miss Shinta Mani Wild Signature massage and the hot stone massage) and wellness programs like private morning yoga session from the zip-line tower with unparalleled view or forest bathing and many more! There were so many things to do and even though we stayed many nights here we did not even get to do everything so don’t be afraid that you will run out of fun things to do.
At Shinta Mani Wild, scenic river valleys and waterfall-laced rainforest paths are really at the guests’ fingertips. The daring, nature loving, and boundary pushing tented camp absolutely puts Cambodia’s green wilderness on the map. We can wholeheartedly say that Shinta Mani Wild is definitely one of a kind. Offering the ultimately unforgettable luxurious experience but at the same time bringing us closer to our mother nature while making us feel like we are also at the front line of conservation. Shinta Mani Wild is one of those places we will not hesitate to return to in the very near future. We love all that they do and cannot wait to be part of it again very soon. I would also like to thank each and every of their team members who have created the birthday to remember for me! Not to mention that very special moment we saw the civet cat and he turned to look back at us, eyes to eyes on the way back to our waterfall tent from dinner on our last night. Coming face to face with raw nature has no price tag. If you haven’t been to Shinta Mani Wild, you definitely need to book your unforgettable stay!
Jibbie & Patrick Gouret